This blog was originally intended to be a place to blog about my research, but the research is currently on hold, waiting for funding or not.
The current research bid is called ‘The Knights Templars’ estates in England and Wales, 1308-1311’, and this is a summary:
The Templars’ estates in England and Wales were inventoried at the time of the Templars’ arrests early in January 1308. From that time until the dissolution of the Order in England in July 1311, the estates were administered by royal keepers. Full records were taken and are preserved in the National Archives (TNA). These records have hardly been studied by scholars. They offer a unique opportunity to study how a non-noble institution exploited its landed property and how it related with its local community, at a time when English landowners were just beginning to run their estates indirectly, employing skilled bailiffs, rather than directly.
This project aims to answer a number of questions, including:
- What property did the Templars in England and Wales hold in January 1308? Is it possible to establish (e.g. through the Inquisitiones post Mortem or the Hundred Rolls) what this property was worth in earlier years? Is it possible to discover what it was worth in future years (e.g. in 1324, 1338, or in later Inquisitiones post Mortem)?
- Whom did the Templars employ on their estates, on what terms?
- How was their property exploited/ developed between 1308-11, when the Order was dissolved in England?
- What did they produce (such as wool, beef, cider, fish, coal)?
- What were their relations with local communities?
- To what extent were they dependent on local bailiffs to run their estates? Is it possible to deduce anything of the skills of such bailiffs?
- Did the form of the documents recording this information vary from one locality to the next? Were they audited?
Readers who are interested in the Templars will be amazed to know that these records have hardly been looked at by historians: because there are a lot of records and they are difficult to read, researchers have only looked at small sections rather than the whole of the material.